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Disney Rides That Were COMPLETE FAILURES

Disney rides that were failures
Credit: Disney

There are so many incredible things that happen when you visit a Disney theme park. You get to eat incredible food, watch amazing shows like Happily Ever After, and even meet some of your favorite characters like Mickey Mouse! But, without a doubt, the highlight of any Disney day for most guests is experiencing one-of-a-kind rides and attractions. And Walt Disney Imagineers have created some of the most memorable theme park rides around.

guest hugging mickey mouse

Credit: Disney

Related: Remember These? Beloved Disney Attractions That Are Long Gone

We can thank Walt Disney Imagineering for iconic rides like “it’s a small world”, the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Unfortunately, not every ride can be a winner, and Disney Imagineers have had their struggles too. Despite research, test rides, and everything in between, Disney has had its share of failures.

Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

Here are some Disney attractions that received an F from guests.

ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter

In 1995, a brand-new ride opened in Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom Park. And the ride definitely made its mark on the guests who rode it. Unfortunately, it was not the mark Disney wanted to make. It was a mark that left many of Disney’s younger guests — and some of their older ones — with nightmares.

ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter

Credit: Disney

We are talking about the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. The ride featured a man named Mr. Clench, who was the head of a company called XS-Tech. One guest was supposed to be chosen to teleport to Mr. Clench, but instead, he decided to teleport to all the guests instead. Of course, the teleportation signal malfunctions, and goes to another planet.

A terrifying creature enters the room where guests are strapped into the chair. If that isn’t bad enough, the creature escapes, and the rest is absolutely petrifying. Many guests walked out in tears, declaring that they would never ride the attraction again.

Alien encounter

Credit: Disney Wiki

Related: Entire Multi-Million-Dollar Magic Kingdom Attraction Forced to Close Forever After Being Deemed Inappropriate and “Too Far”

ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was only open for eight years before Disney decided the dying attraction needed to be put to rest in 2003. Sadly, they replaced it with another attraction that failed to succeed as well. This leads us to the next attraction on our list…

Stitch’s Great Escape

One year after the closure of the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, Disney opened a new attraction in its place — Stitch’s Great Escape. And the new ride was a lot like the old one, but much less scary.

Stitch's Great Escape

Credit: Theme Park Tourist, Flickr

Guests who rode Stitch’s Great Escape were brought into the Galactic Federation Prisoner Teleportation Center. There, they see how aliens who run amuck are dealt with by the Galactic Federation. Suddenly, they are escorted into a top-security chamber, since the Teleportation Center is preparing to get a Level 3 offender — the worst of the worst.

Guests are strapped in as they wait for the monster being teleported — who ends up being Stitch. Stitch looks innocent enough, and Captain Gantu lets his guard down. Of course, Stitch escapes and causes absolutely hilarious chaos. He tussles the hair of the guests, and even steals a chili dog, which has some disgusting ramifications.

Stitch's Great Escape

Credit: Loren Javier, Flickr

Gantu is never able to capture Stitch, who escapes to Earth and winds up in Flori-duh. There, he continues to wreak havoc around the Magic Kingdom.

Sadly, Stitch’s Great Escape never really caught on with guests. The ride was open for 14 years, but the only time it ever really saw a crowd was during peak season, when guests rode it because there was nothing else to ride. On an even sadder note, Disney has not done anything with the building that housed Stitch and ExtraTERRORestrial, and it sits empty to this day.

Stitch's Great Escape

Credit: Disney Fanatic

Related: Bad Stitch!! Viral Video Shows Stitch Tossing a Child’s Toy Onto Parade Route

Rocket Rods

Not going to lie, this one still hurts and many a Disneyland fan is still very bitter about it. One of Disney’s most iconic rides is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. And it makes us sad to remember that Disneyland Park also had a PeopleMover — called the WEDWay PeopleMover — to take guests on a grand circle tour of Disneyland.

Sadly, Disney closed the WEDWay PeopleMover in 1995 and replaced it with the complete and utter failure that was Rocket Rods.

Peoplemover

Credit: Disney

Rocket Rods utilized the same track as the PeopleMover, but it was designed to be a thrill ride that whipped guests around Tomorrowland, speeding by the people below. However, the ride was a total mess from the get-go. Disney did not change the original PeopleMover track, and it was unable to accommodate a heavier and faster ride. That caused the track to weaken substantially over a short period of time.

The attraction opened in July 1998, but had to close just one month later for refurbishment. It was only supposed to be closed for five weeks, but stayed shuttered for three months. But the refurb didn’t do much, and the ride was constantly closed and breaking down. Just two years after opening, Disney announced that Rocket Rods would be closing permanently.

Rocket Rods Disneyland

Credit: Disney

Related: Toontown Announcement Leaves Fans Begging For Tomorrowland Revamp

For more than two decades, Disneyland fans have been hoping against hope that Disney would announce the return of the WEDWay PeopleMover, especially since the track is still there. Hopes were highest right before the 2022 D23 Expo, but hopes were dashed, and it didn’t happen.

However, there is another D23 Expo happening this year, so we can keep our fingers crossed for some positive PeopleMover news!

Superstar Limo

There’s a chance that you might not have heard of Superstar Limo — and that is because it had one of the shortest lifespans of any Disney attraction in history. It may even get the prize for the least amount of time a ride was open at a Disney park.

Superstar Limo

Credit: Yesterland

Superstar Limo was a ride years in the making. Disneyland Resort is only about an hour away from Hollywood, California, and Disney wanted to capitalize on that. So, Disney Imagineers designed a ride in which guests would go on a thrilling and high-speed ride through Hollywood, trying to evade the paparazzi who were chasing them.

Sadly, Imagineers had to go back to the drawing board in the summer of 1997. That was the summer in which Princess Diana was killed in a car crash while being chased by the paparazzi. So, instead of being chased through Hollywood by the paparazzi, guests would go on a trip through La-La land, and would see different animatronic celebrities.

Superstar Limo

Credit: Yesterland

Superstar Limo was an opening day attraction at Disney California Adventure Park, which opened in February 2001. Unfortunately for Disney, guests just really didn’t enjoy the attraction, and it closed in January 2002. There were rumors that Disney was thinking about giving it a Goofy or Muppets makeover, but those never happened.

In 2006, Disney opened a brand-new attraction where Superstar Limo used to be located. Monters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! took guests on a trip through Monstropolis as Mike and Sulley work to get Boo home. The ride had a much better reception than Superstar Limo, and is still open in the Hollywood Backlot area of DCA.

Monsters Inc Mike & Sulley to the Rescue

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Star Casts Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson As Sulley In Live Action Monsters, Inc.

Luigi’s Flying Tires

As we said above, Disney California Adventure Park opened at the Disneyland Resort in 2001, but the reception probably wasn’t what Disney was hoping for. Guests were not impressed with the park, and many thought that Disney didn’t put in the same amount of effort it did for parks like Animal Kingdom over in Walt Disney World.

In 2007, Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted that the park was “mediocre” and announced a massive expansion. Five years later, in 2012, Cars Land opened — home to Route 66, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Radiator Springs Racers, and Luigi’s Flying Tires. Sadly, only two of those attractions ended up being popular with guests.

Cars Land Disney California Adventure

Credit: Disney

Luigi’s Flying Tires road the struggle bus pretty much from day one. The ride was supposed to give guests the ability to board a massive tire-shaped ride vehicle, and whip around a trackless area. They could bump into other guests and go in whatever direction they wanted, depending on which way they leaned.

However, guests who weren’t the right weight struggled to get their tires to move at all. Those who were too light or too heavy found themselves unable to get their tires to move any faster than a crawl. Many guests also struggled to control the direction the tire went in, as the vehicle didn’t always recognize when they leaned.

Luigi's Flying Tires California Adventure

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Introduces New Ban on Popular Attraction

What makes Luigi’s Flying Tires particularly interesting, is that Disney Imagineers knew that the ride had a high chance of failing.

In 1961, Disney opened its Flying Saucers attraction over in Tomorrowland at Disneyland Park. The concept was exactly the same as Luigi’s Flying Tires, except with flying saucers instead of tires. Flying Saucers faced the same issues as Flying Tires, and guests had the same complaints back then.

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters

Credit: Disney

Related: RUMORS Swirl: Is There More to This ‘Cars Land’ Ride Refurbishment Than We Thought?

Luigi’s Flying Tires lasted only three years, closing in 2015. One year later, Disney reopened the attraction as Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, a trackless attraction where guests board dancing cars as they celebrate Luigi’s family reunion.

Journey Into YOUR Imagination

“Two tiny wings, eyes big and yellow. Horn of a steer, but a lovable fellow. From head to tail, he’s royal purple pigment. And there, Viola!, you’ve got a Figment!”

In 1983, guests visiting EPCOT Center were introduced to a brand-new character and attraction, created just for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. That character was Figment, an adorable purple dragon who is the physical manifestation of the figment of your imagination! And the ride was Journey Into Imagination. Figment was created by the Dreamfinder, a man who uses his Dream Mobile to collect dreams and create new things from them.

Journey Into imagination

Credit: D23

Journey Into Imagination was open until 1998, when it was refurbished and changed into Journey Into YOUR Imagination. And that ride makes the list as one of Disney’s biggest failures.

Journey Into YOUR Imagination took guests into the Imagination Institute, where they went through a scanner that told them they had no imagination. Guests were then taken through many labs in the institute — labs like Sound, Illusion, Color, Gravity, and Connections. The labs were supposed to help guests learn how to use their imagination.

figment journey into imagination

Credit: Disney

The biggest problem people had with Journey Into YOUR Imagination was that Disney almost completely removed the Dreamfinder and Figment! They were only really seen at the end of the attraction, waving goodbye to guests as they left the Imagination Institute.

Journey Into YOUR Imagination was only open for two years before it closed after major complaints from guests. The ride reopened in 2002 as Journey Into Imagination With Figment, and is still there today. Journey Into Imagination With Figment now features Dr. Nigel Channing (Eric Idle), a man who needs help learning how to use his imagination. And who better to help him learn than Figment?!

Journey Into Imagination, figment sits in a bathtub on the ceiling

Credit: Disney

Related: Figment Is Getting His Own Movie!

The new(ish) attraction is nearly 100 percent Figment-focused, and the little purple dragon is more adorable than ever!

HONORABLE MENTION

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

Okay, so this one is not technically a ride, but we would be remiss if we did not include one of Disney’s biggest financial failures ever.

The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser was billed as the ultimate experience for Star Wars fans. The Galactic Starcruiser was so much more than just a themed hotel. It was a 2-day, fully immersive experience that transported guests to a galaxy far, far away. The only time guests would leave the Starcruiser was when they were taken by private vehicle to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge millennium Falcon

Credit: Disney

The 2-day experience allowed guests to choose a role and go on adventures that suited their role — roles like Stormtrooper or fighter in the Rebel Alliance. There were also lightsaber lessons and droid racing competitions. In addition to that, there were amazing character meet and greets and completely unique food that could only be found aboard the Starcruiser.

Star Wars fans thought the Galactic Starcruiser was one of the most incredible things that Disney has ever done. The Starcruiser is actually Disney’s highest-rated experience EVER!

Blue Shrimp Galactic Starcruiser

Credit: Disney

Related: The WEIRDEST Food We Have Seen at Disney Parks!

So, you may be wondering why in the heck the Starcruiser failed. It was really all centered around one thing — the price.

As stated, the Galactic Starcruiser was a 2-day experience, but the price varied based on how many guests. One room for two guests started at almost $5,000. That’s right — guests would have to spend almost $5,000 for just two days. That’s the same price that some people would pay for their entire Walt Disney World vacation that lasted much more than two days. And four guests could end up spending almost $10,000, again, just for two days.

galactic starcruiser star wars disney world hotel

Credit: Disney

Despite how much guests loved what they saw aboard the Galactic Starcruiser, there were just too many people who could not afford it. Disney quickly began offering discounts, since they were struggling to fill the rooms, of which there were only 100. Then, Disney was forced to cancel voyages, since not enough people were booked on them.

The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser opened on March 1, 2022, but Disney was forced to shut its doors less than two years later. The Starcruiser took its last voyage on September 30, 2023.

Galactic Starcruiser

Credit: Disney

Related: It’s Official: Disney Fans Know Better Than the Company Itself

Sadly, the hotel still remains empty and Disney has not announced what it plans to do with the space.

And there you have it. These are Disney rides that were complete failures. Thankfully, Disney Imagineers are so creative that their failures are way overshadowed by the amazing magic they create every single day!

Did you ride any of these failed Disney attractions? What do you think is Disney’s biggest park failure? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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